March 5, 2024

JICE Fosters Cultural Exchange: Sharjah Students Engage in Karuta Tournament 

On January 17th, 2024, 20 students from Khawla Bint Tha’labah Girls’ School and 26 students from Secondary Model Boys’ School in Sharjah participated in a thrilling karuta tournament, part of JICE’s ongoing commitment to cultural exchange and language learning between Japan and the UAE.

This initiative offers high school students studying Japanese a unique chance to delve into Japanese culture, connect with Japanese students from Tokyo, and foster their understanding of Japan through dialogue and interaction.

Karuta, a widely enjoyed Japanese card game, adds an element of excitement to language learning by challenging participants’ reading and listening comprehension skills. The Ministry of Education in the United Arab Emirates (MoE) aims to cultivate global citizens familiar with diverse languages and cultures, fostering language interest and motivation in a delightful and engaging manner.

In 2020, an MOU was signed between the MoE and the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) to enhance Japanese-language learning in public secondary schools. Classes commenced in UAE schools in 2021, guided by Japanese teachers, enabling students not only to learn the language but also immerse themselves in Japanese culture.

Currently, two Sharjah schools conduct classes for students in Grades 9, 10, and 11. JICE and Japanese teachers collaborate with a shared goal: to demonstrate that language learning can be enjoyable for students

H.E. Jun Imanishi, Consul General of Japan to Dubai and the Northern Emirates, made a speech before the tournament. He said, “I hope this exchange program will be an excellent opportunity to provide young students of Sharjah and Tokyo to mutually understand each other and to strengthen the relationships between UAE and Japan.”

The karuta tournament was a dynamic event where students not only showcased their language skills but also engaged in a delightful cultural exchange with Japanese students. Alongside the tournament, the Sharjah and Tokyo students had the chance to participate in presentations about environmental issues, and the importance of mutual understanding between two nations.

The cultural immersion didn’t stop there. Japanese and Emirati foods were served after the tournaments, providing students with a unique culinary experience. The students enthusiastically interacted with Japanese students in Japanese, practicing their language skills in a relaxed and enjoyable setting.

Mr. Hozumi Takigawa, a Japanese language teacher at Secondary Model School for boys, emphasized the positive impact of interactive activities on both Emirati and Japanese students. “It was a great opportunity for all the students. I hope the project will continue in the future,” he said.

Mr. Mazin Mohamed, a Grade 11 student at Secondary Model School for boys expressed, “The event was truly enchanting, with everyone immersed in its beauty and joy. What made it even more special was its role as a meeting ground for diverse cultures. We aspire to host similar events in the United Arab Emirates, where today, we had the privilege of delving into the rich tapestry of Japan. It’s truly remarkable that they traveled all the way from Japan to share their ideas in their presentations, fostering a delightful exchange that transcends borders and unites us in the celebration of shared knowledge and cultural richness.”

Incorporating the perspective of Ms. Moe Hirose, a Japanese language teacher at Khawla Bint Tha’labah Girls’ School, she shared, “It was a very valuable and fulfilling experience for my students to host the event using Japanese and interacting with Japanese students. This had a tremendously positive impact on our students to learn more Japanese. Additionally, this event influenced and motivated students who will be starting Japanese courses in the 9th grade in a few years.”

Commenting on the event, Tokuya Kanamori, Managing Director of the JICE Abu Dhabi Office, envisions more similar activities in the future. “The karuta tournament was a great example of the power of language learning to broaden horizons and instill a sense of fun into education. I hope this will be followed by many similar events, and we will see even more students engaging enthusiastically with Japanese language and culture.”

Last Updated on 4 weeks by Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247

    Middle East News 247 delivers trending business and lifestyle news and essential infotainment for, and from the Middle East region, with key focus on the GCC nations: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman.
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